May 17, 2022
2022 SKQB 129
The claim alleges that the plaintiff was sexually harassed and assaulted in the workplace. In dismissing the requests for a sealing order, the Court was not satisfied that sealing of the court file was necessary to prevent serious risk to the Applicant’s privacy interests.
The privacy interests of a person who makes an allegation of sexual assault or sexual harassment in a civil action are high…therefore the first part of the Sherman Estate test were met.
However, the order was not necessary to prevent the risk to the identified interest because:
- The proposed measure – a sealing order – would not be effective in preventing the stated risk (which was that the medical community was small and gossip spreads).
- The Court noted that, given that the court proceedings were still presumptively open, the action would be heard in public and the information would be revealed;
- Other reasonable measures could mitigate against the risk.
- The interest in freedom of the press outweighed the risk to the individual’s privacy interest in this case.
The request to anonymize by initials was also rejected because there was a less intrusive remedy available, namely a judge can simply anonymize decisions. It was unnecessary to anonymize all court pleadings.